Friday, June 10, 2016

It's a Fresh Delicious Art & Poetry Show: Meet Barb Faust & Young Learners in Room 128 A!

Buttons! Love!
Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit dedicated poet and educator Carol at Beyond Literacy Link for Roundup. (And a favor, PF friends: would someone please add this post to the link up? I am in the middle of difficult things and would be so so grateful!) 

And now, I am so so happy to introduce to you wonderful soul and teacher Barbara Faust and the artists of Room 128 A

Watermelon-sized thanks to one Amy Ludwig Vanderwater for introducing us! Among so many other things, Amy is a connector. She generous and kind. And she knows everyone! Mwah! Thank you, Amy.

And now.... take it away, Barb!

"Hi Everyone!  I am very excited to a guest on Irene’s blog thanks to her generous invitation after an introduction by our mutual friend, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater  creator of another wonderful website, The Poem Farm.  Thank you, Irene and thank you Amy for introducing us!

Springtime in Buffalo in a pre-k classroom means creating art for two special occasions—Mother’s Day of course and the Pre-k Art Show.  Every year each Pre-k class in Buffalo creates original artwork that hangs in Buffalo’s City Hall for the month of May.   Each year I look for something not only original but meaningful for the children in my Montessori classroom to make—but what this year? Farmer’s Markets and food are an important part of our school and the Buffalo culture.  When I found Fresh Delicious on the Poem Farm website I purchased it immediately.  The children have been learning to recite “Tomato” and “Strawberry Jamboree” from Irene’s book.  One morning as I watched the 3, 4 and 5 year olds in my class recite “Tomatoes” I knew—Irene’s poetry was the inspiration for our Art Show poster.

WOW! What a smorgasbord of poetry and art!

I brought strawberries in one day, then tomatoes and finally cucumbers.  On the first day with each fruit we passed it around, touched it, smelled it and I took down the words the children said.
an angel! inside a TOMATO!
Then I cut the fruit in half in front of them passed it around cut and continued taking down the words the children said knowing poems would appear.  You can imagine how it feels to hear a kindergartner notice “an angel when you make it in the snow” lying right inside of a cut tomato.  Or a three-year-old see “jingle bell lights like Santa” travel along the edges of a cut strawberry.

Jingle bell lights! Ho Ho Ho!
"After this oral writing the children have a variety of options.  They can choose to draw, paint or photograph the fruit available.  When their work is finished—the words and the visual arts,  I match the poems with the photos and mount them on the poster for City Hall with a thank you to Irene for her inspiration.  In the photos you see some of their work matched with their poems.  You can also see a photo I took  [see below] of two of our kindergartners at work making art—one observer—one photographer who has arranged her shot of the inside of the strawberries that will become part of the poster. What I really love is the joy that making art paints on their faces.

This year we have begun to perform our poems more often while standing in our classroom. The children have memorized everything from Langston Hughes’  “My People” to Irene’s Fresh Delicious work.  In these early spring mornings, our room flooded with light I watch eighteen children drawing circles in the air and throwing an imaginary baseball as they recite Irene’s “Tomatoes” and see the same joy on their faces as I see in the photo of the kindergartners creating their own photographs.


Thank you again, Irene for the opportunity to share their joy and their work and to Amy LV for our introduction."
Oh, to be a child in Barb Faust's classroom! What joy! And to be a poet whose words are being feasted upon in this way... I'm honored and humbled and completely inspired. Thank YOU, Barb, and these amazing young poet-artists! Happy summer to all!!


  1. What a joyous celebration from Barb! I want my grandkids to be in her classroom. I love her explanation of the process she used to capture the poetry in her classroom. Angels in the snow and jingle bell lights . . . such lovely language!

  2. This is stunning. Exquisite words and photos by children in one of the most joyous classrooms I know and inspired by one of my new favorite books! Thank you both for sharing this very lucky I am to count you as friends. Hug. xx

  3. Irene, I loved your book when I read it alone in my house, but to see it celebrated with such juicy pleasure in a classroom full of kids... it sounds even more brilliant. What a great post.

  4. I have visited Barb's classroom and it is filled with her light and the unique light inside each student that she helps them discover through looking, listening and creating.

  5. Thank you for this delicious post. I'm so sorry about your difficult things. I had missed that earlier in the week. Lifting you in prayer!

  6. Wow! I'm about ready to drive to Buffalo! What a wonderful reflection of art meeting minds. Beautiful in every way.

  7. I can't imagine anything would make me want to teach
    Kindergarten but this post did. What fun!

  8. *Sends link immediately to anyone with young kids and classes* This is fabulous and I love it lots. Barb, I love how you are feeding the creativity of the kiddies in your class! Irene, praying for you, with your difficult things. x

  9. Those poems are so fresh delicious with their angels and lights! I love the young poets' insight and imagery. Great job!

  10. Love the smiles on the faces of the girls with the camera. Creativity and joy just go together!

  11. Wow! What an amazing experience these children have in your classroom. I love this activity. So inspiring.

  12. How wonderful to see your work bring such joy, Irene!

  13. Joy beyond joy-coupling Irene's poems with Barb's children creates a passion project. Little children exploring poetry-how wonderful!

  14. Kudos, Barbara Q. Faust and Room 128A!
    Not only are they our neighbors at Bennett Park Montessori Center, but they are thoughtful friends. Their beautifully illustrated work was an AWESOME sensory experience for these multi-age learners. I became overwhelmed with astonishment when I actually saw “the angel INSIDE the tomato”!!! Needless to say, when the language was presented...true works of art, each and every one of them.

    From the concrete to the abstract, watching these poets create art, and thoroughly take ownership over their experience…priceless!

  15. I love everthing about this blog post. Kids connecting to children' poetry courtesy of Ms. Faust, Latham Power, and the power of Room 128A, ALV being the connector to help make this event happen. Oh, look at those smiling faces of the students? Children's poetry bliss! BUFFALO POWER!

  16. Great job friends in 128a. I spent time in Barbs room while this project was in the process. I am always amazed to see what Barb and her class are working on! Writing is fostered. And the finished product is worth the effort.


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